Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Pioneering the surface of the Moon is impossible. Until it’s not.

A patch of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Terrain Vehicle Program

Lunar Terrain Vehicle: Our Vision

The future of life in space starts right here—with a vehicle capable of traversing the harsh environments of planets and their moons while preserving human life. Our Lunar Terrain Vehicle design offers a sustainable, flexible and affordable vehicle that can support enhanced human and robotic exploration of the lunar surface and, ultimately, Mars.

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Lunar Terrain Vehicle: Our Team

Northrop Grumman has partnered with AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Michelin to bring NASA astronauts a new vehicle for lunar exploration for the Artemis mission and beyond. Together, we are a highly capable team of experts providing critical solutions for customers across the aerospace and automotive industries.

As the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman will lead systems integration, bridging its own flight-proven experience with spacecraft design to include cargo storage, energy management, avionics, navigation, sensors, controls, mission planning, operations and training.

AVL, an industry-leader for the development, simulation, and testing of propulsion systems, will bring its expertise in the advancement of battery systems, autonomous driving, and electric drive solutions to make lunar surface mobility a reality. AVL will provide the team with the scalable tools and technologies to design, power, and utilize an LTV successfully in extreme environments associated with the Moon and beyond

Intuitive Machines, a leading provider and supplier of space products and services, will provide vehicle launch and landing functionality for Northrop’s Lunar Terrain Vehicle with technology from the company’s Nova-D lander. Nova-D can deliver a 500kg payload to the lunar service.

Lunar Outpost is at the forefront of mobility for the lunar surface. Through its line of planetary rover products, Lunar Outpost holds key expertise in prototyping, dust mitigation and thermal technologies. Along with this, Lunar Outpost carries knowledge of the unique challenges encountered by mobility platforms on the Moon.

Michelin has the responsibility of developing an airless tire solution for the Lunar Terrain Vehicle. To accomplish this task, Michelin will leverage the experience gained from previous collaborations with NASA to build lunar rovers, its expertise in high-tech materials, and the know-how acquired in the development of airless solutions for extreme applications.

Lunar Terrain Vehicle: Video

Lunar Terrain Vehicle: Proven Experience

Supporting space exploration endeavors is not new to Northrop Grumman. From developing the lunar module for the Apollo program to continuously delivering critical cargo to astronauts on the International Space Station via our Cygnus spacecraft, our company has been at the forefront of human spaceflight and exploration, and we’re ready to once again bring our wealth of knowledge and experience to the table for the Artemis program.

In addition to the lunar rover, our team of expert engineers are building the Habitat and Logistics Outpost—also known as HALO—living quarters for Artemis astronauts visiting NASA’s Gateway. HALO is capable of providing life support for a crew of four astronauts for up to 30 days. In addition to HALO’s command, control and data capabilities, energy storage and power distribution, thermal control, and communications and tracing capabilities, the module will feature up to four docking ports for visiting spacecraft, including NASA’s Orion spacecraft and other logistics support vehicles. HALO is based off Northrop Grumman’s highly successful and flight-proven Cygnus spacecraft.

AVL brings more than 70 years of technology leadership in the mobility industry to the table, and will provide the powertrain, autonomy, and battery expertise to make lunar mobility possible.

AVL will provide a robust drive, steering, and suspension layout to ensure the system delivers reliable performance from the first to the final day of the mission. Their vehicle energy modeling experts will leverage AVL CRUISE™, a simulation toolchain, to optimize the size of the entire LTV mobility system to meet vehicle needs at the lowest possible power and weight. The AVL Battery Cassette provides flexible, scalable, and robust power to make sure the LTV can complete all mission objectives—minimizing energy and power loss while still maintaining full operational function as a battery system.

Intuitive Machines will build on its capability developed through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative to meet NASA and commercial demand for larger lunar surface payload delivery. Their Nova-D spacecraft utilizes four liquid methane/oxygen engines from the mature Nova-C program for precision landing on the Moon.

Lunar Outpost is a new space leader in autonomous planetary mobility systems for exploration, prospecting, and establishment of infrastructure. Lunar Outpost is slated to operate the first rover mission near the Lunar South Pole in late 2022. During which, the MAPP rover will support Nokia’s LTE/4G NASA Tipping Point project with Intuitive Machines to build, integrate and test the first-ever LTE/4G network on the surface of the Moon. Additionally, Lunar Outpost is building on planetary rover operations and ISRU heritage achieved through our contributions developing and operating the Mars Oxygen In-situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) on the NASA’s Perseverance Rover.

Michelin will build on heritage experience acquired on previous collaborations with NASA for lunar rovers, to engineer a new tire-wheel structure that can enable LTV missions in the extreme conditions of Lunar South Pole.

Lunar Terrain Vehicle: Team Leaders

Andrei Mitran

Andrei Mitran serves as Capture Manager for the Lunar Terrain Vehicle as part of Human Space Exploration and Operations business unit in Tactical Space Systems Division.  His responsibilities include LTV business case development and multi-customers mission integration.

Andrei has served as an Air Force pilot and flight instructor, and has held a variety of business development roles for emerging product lines at Northrop Grumman. He has supported numerous NASA and DoD programs, focusing on market development through public-private partnerships.  Andrei holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M, a Master’s of Engineering Systems Management from St. Mary’s University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Sean Chait

Sean Chait has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. As a member of the Human Exploration and Operations Systems Engineering staff, he has led multiple advanced development programs for crew rated vehicles, ranging from new component/subsystem development to managing the design of completely new spacecraft buses/architectures. He started his career in the design, analysis, test, and on-orbit operations of Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) systems, specializing in Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking of space vehicles. Past experience covers a wide range of platforms/applications, from small satellite relative operations system design to successful design and on-orbit operations of solar sails to managing all GN&C related hardware for the highly successful Cygnus program.

Adam Dendrinos

Adam Dendrinos is the chief engineer for battery systems AVL. With more than 22 years of experience in battery development and 19 years in automotive and vehicle electrification development, Adam works closely with OEMs and key suppliers to advance e-mobility projects.

Adam has previously held roles at A123 Systems and Continental AG. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Lawrence Technological University and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from Oakland University.

Thomas Huettner
As the Executive Director of the AVL California Technical Center, Thomas Huettner focuses on the development and deployment of electrification projects and new technologies. With a wealth of knowledge in design engineering and engine development, Thomas brings more than 26 years of automotive engineering experience to the team.

He has served in various engineering leadership roles around the world throughout his 14-year career at AVL and has held roles at BMW M and Cosworth Engineering. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical, Vehicle, and Powertrain Engineering from the College for Technology, Fachhochschule für Technik, and a Master of Science degree in Automobile Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire.

Trent Martin

Trent Martin has a BS in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. As the VP of Space Systems and the Lunar Payload and Data Services Program Manager for Intuitive Machines Trent directs all IM active lunar missions. He has 27 years of experience designing, building, testing, flying and operating space flight systems. He leads all of the IM lunar activities including two active lunar landing missions. Trent also serves as the PI on our micro-Nova hopper technology that is a small drone like vehicle that flies off of our Nova-C lander to explore extreme environments on the moon like Permanently Shadowed regions. 

Tim Crain

Tim Crain has a BS, MS and PhD from the University of Texas in Aerospace Engineering. He has over 26 years of experience designing and testing navigation systems for human and robotic space missions including Mars Pathfinder cruise and entry, descent, and landing (EDL), Mars Science Lab (MSL) EDL, Hubble Robotic Servicing RPOD, Orion RPOD, Osiris-Rex, ALHAT/Morpheus, IM’s Terrestrial Return Vehicle, and the PLHA system for the Nova-C lander. As IM’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Tim takes a direct and active role in technology development, testing, and implementation on upcoming missions. 

Julian Cyrus

Julian Cyrus is the Co-founder and COO of Lunar Outpost. Since its inception, he has been involved in almost every aspect of Lunar Outpost’s growth as a company, including as product manager of the Canary Environmental Monitor, an advanced version of which was built for use in a habitat prototype for NASA’s Deep Space Gateway at KSC. He also contributed to the creation of the MAPP lunar rover, handled operations and customer interactions for DoD contracts, and has contributed significantly to the rapid growth of commercial sales and production.

He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas, with a minor in Biology, and at the University of Colorado completed his M.S. thesis in Bioelectromagnetics under Dr. Frank Barnes and worked as an Electrical Engineer for Sunlight Aerospace. He also previously worked for Lockheed Martin as an Electronics Engineer on the Orion Program, as the delegate Certified Principal Engineer in the Displays and Controls group, working closely with the Human Factors team.

Forrest Meyen

Forrest Meyen is the Co-founder and CSO of Lunar Outpost. Forrest leads Lunar Outpost’s MOXIE instrument operations aboard the NASA Perseverance Rover. He leverages his experience designing, and operating novel surface instruments on other planets to assist with lunar payload development and sales for Lunar Outpost’s Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform (MAPP) rovers. Forrest is also the program manager for the M1 MAPP rover mission to the lunar South Pole and knows what it takes to design and build surface mobility solutions for the moon.

Forrest earned a Ph.D. from MIT for his work contributing to the creation of MOXIE. Forrest’s coursework and Master’s thesis focused on space suit and robotic exoskeleton design. Having spent time in fully pressurized NASA lunar prototype space suits, Forrest appreciates the challenge of designing vehicles to be operated while wearing what is known as the world’s “smallest manned spacecraft”.

Robert Radulescu

Robert Radulescu is a tire expert for the Michelin Group. He is located on the Michelin North America, Inc., research and development campus in Greenville, S.C. He has over 28 years of experience in truck tire design and specializes in the areas of tire wear, rolling resistance and endurance.  He has worked in research, development, and industrializations projects in both Europe and North America.  Robert has led other tire development projects sponsored by the Department of Energy and Department of Defense.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Rutgers University, and a Master of Science and Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois.

David Chapman

David joined Michelin in 2019 and is responsible for Government and Defense programs in North America. His team manages the government customer interface and contract management for Michelin in the United States and Canada. Prior to Michelin, David served in the US Army for 30 years. He held leadership roles at every level of his career, serving in numerous light infantry and special operations units and deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Other notable assignments include Commander of the Defense Language Institute and as the Defense and Army Attaché to Paris France, Athens Greece, and Belgrade Serbia.

David holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Troy University, a master’s degree in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University, a bachelor’s degree in English from The Citadel. He is a three-time graduate of the Defense Language Institute with proficiencies in Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Greek and French languages.